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White Tower Restaurant oral history collection

Identifier: OH WTR


This oral history collection contains interviews with 27 employees and customers of the White Tower restaurant in Baltimore, a hamburger fast food chain, circa 1993-1994. Narrators discuss their memories of White Tower and the social change that took place amid the civil rights movement.


  • 1993 October 18 - 1994 October 26

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Biographical / Historical

The White Tower restaurant chain was one of the precursors to fast food chains as they are known today. Founded in 1926 in Wisconsin, by the 1950s they had over 200 locations across the United States. Nine of those stores were located in Baltimore, Maryland. Gaining life-long employees and customers over the decades, many considered the chain a Baltimore landmark until their decline in the 1970s. Known for their great food and fast customer service, White Tower was also the site of great change. In the 1960s, White Towers became one of the many restaurants protested through picket lines and sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement. Even after the Civil Rights Movement, there were additional moments of prejudice and racism at specific White Tower locations in Baltimore.


27 Items (There are 27 oral history interviews.)

Language of Materials



Kiger, Patrick J. "10 Restaurant Chains That Flopped." October 27, 2009.

Scope and Contents

This collection includes 27 oral history interviews. They were given to the Maryland Center for History and Culture by the Baltimore City Life Museums when they closed in 1997.

Employees and customers of the White Tower restaurant chain were interviewed. The interviews focus on favorite memories within the restaurant, changes through the decades, and the decline of the chain. They also discuss sit-ins, prejudice, and desegregation that occurred in Baltimore, and the effect this had on the restaurant.

Guide to the White Tower Restaurants oral history collection
Under Revision
Cathryn Kinde
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States